Tuesday, March 22, 2011
It's the nutrition stupid!
So I have this deep dark secret. I don't hate vegetables. I know that's shocking, but I don't. My friend Jessica called me out on it last year when we were away in Virginia together and I was raving about the shrimp and avocado appetizer we'd had the night before. It's true, I don't. I just am insanely picky about how they are prepared so it's easier to just tell people I don't like them. Instead of saying, sorry it's just I'm not into boiling them, please don't take it personally...
The problem with that is people take that as a license to talk to you like you're 5 years old. Which is really annoying. You just want to say you know my girlfriend makes this spinach appetizer that I pop like cheese doodles and my sister-in-law has a cucumber soup that is amazing AND she has a roasted balsamic asparagus recipe that I have not only stolen but make several times a week. But I keep it to myself and stay a closet vegetation liker. I love sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and one of my favorite salads is baby spinach and pears with goat cheese. I also love berries, avocados, peppers, apples, pears, tomatoes, carrots (raw only, I hate them cooked for some reason), celery, mushrooms (all kinds), squash, among others. I do however HATE bitter veggies. I mean really, WTF is up with okra? Peas taste like plastic to me. And I'm not a huge fan of oranges (except blood oranges, I like those.) Oh and I LOVE beans, though they don't count as veggies I know.
Now I don't mean to imply that I eat healthfully. I do not! In fact if the fate of the human race depends on how fast I can polish off a bag of potato chips, you are all safe my friends. I am a lazy eater, I'd rather eat what is convenient than make myself something healthful. Which is the worst kind of eater you can be, quite frankly.
But I'm getting completely off topic here. So since chemo 3 my stomach has been crazy crampy. Every time I put anything in my belly, food or liquid, it cramped up something awful. Kinda like I did too many sit ups or something. (Not that I actually know what that feels like.) I didn't think anything of it because the anti-nausea meds they give you at chemo can also have the same affect. However, it kept getting worse and worse. So I ended up in the hospital again, this time we wisely went to Sloan where my oncologist decided to admit me cause I looked terrible.
I was adamant that it was food poisoning again. Which my doc didn't buy for a second. But the truth was I just didn't want the answer to be that it was finally the meds having their way with my stomach. Unfortunately that's exactly what it was and I was angry. I felt completely out of control and I was scared that I'd have stomach problems for the rest of chemo, which could last another 9 weeks.
So since I was stuck in the hospital for the blood clot they found (more on that in the future) the docs decided to use that time to sort out my belly situation. This was important cause it's my belly issues that keep causing these dehydration cycles that have landed me in the hospital twice now. So in addition to lowering (slightly) my tarceva and steroid doses (which was causing the major cramping) they also sent me a lovely nutritionist named Clarissa.
Clarissa was the first person to really explain how chemo messes with your digestive system and I had lost the ability to digest normally. So when I ate a "meal" in the traditional sense I felt like it was sitting in my stomach for hours because it was literally sitting in my stomach for hours. So now I eat one thing at a time. Which is great, cause I can now digest it and if I choose something that doesn't agree with me I'll only suffer for an hour instead of 4 or 5 like I'd been. She also addressed that I was drinking incorrectly (yeah there is such a thing). I wasn't sipping throughout the day AND I shouldn't drink while I eat. She also said the reason I hate drinking water is because of the awful copper taste in my mouth, so she gave me some tricks to avoid that. And she also didn't love the idea of always drinking water. So I added things like Ensure and juices.
She also informed us (6 weeks too late) that the steroid I'm on is depleting me of potassium (one of the things they keep having to pump me with at the hospital), so that was important. So now I have to drink at least two glasses of orange juice, one Ensure and eat one banana a day. This was big, cause we were so focused on me drinking water that we neglected the electrolytes and gatorade really doesn't have that many. So now I'm feeling SO much better!
So now I eat one thing every 90 min or so. And the things that feel the best, not surprisingly, are strawberries, bananas, apples and applesauce. These are things that require no experiment, I know I can eat them no problems. And I feel better after eating them. Naturally.
Most importantly I feel in control again. So whew! At least I can eat again. I just take it slowly and experiment. So like eating out is tricky cause any other oil than olive oil bothers me, so no Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger for me. But I can have my mom's chicken cutlets and scrambled eggs.
Oh I'm also supposed to avoid whole grains (because of the symptoms caused by the tarceva) so I just got permission to eat white bread again. Woohoo!!!
But man, this is what I get for not researching on my own. But I totally want to hug Clarissa for giving me my stomach back. Hooray!